How Child Custody Works in New Jersey
Sometimes, the people who suffer the most during a divorce is the children. Especially when it comes to custody. There are several factors the court takes into account when deciding where the child should live:
- The child’s relationship with his parents and siblings
- How well the child and the parent communicate
- The parents’ ability to agree on the custody arrangements
- History of the parents’ actions against the child, such has child abuse
- The fitness of the parents
- Age and number of children
- The location of the parents’ homes
- Stability in the home environment
- The age and number of children
- The child’s preference
- The needs of the child
There are two types of child custody in New Jersey: legal custody, which means you make the decisions for the child, or physical or residential custody, which means you decide where the child will live and when (i.e. you get your daughter five nights a week while your wife has her for two nights a week). The court generally urges the parents to work out a joint custody agreement on their own. Such an arrangement could be a child lives solely with one parent but visits the other parent regularly or alternate between the parents.
In some rare instances, the court might think the parents’ custody agreements are not in the best interest of the child. In any case, the court may ask the parents to present a custody plan that the court can consider when creating a custody agreement. Whether you can agree on a plan or not, the court can appoint a mediator who will work with you to make out the best plan for your child.